Menopause is an important transition in women's lives and one that every woman experiences differently. The symptoms can be mild and pass quickly for some and for others, it’s an explosion of hot flashes, mood swings, confusion, even the sense of losing your confidence. We've often heard women speaking of not feeling themselves and almost being on the verge of depression.
The good news is you can adopt lifestyle changes to help cope with the changes occurring in your body.
Why Exercise is important?
Although there is no scientific proof that exercise is a means of reducing menopausal symptoms, it can ease the transition greatly by helping to relieve stress and enhance your overall quality of life.
Exercise during and after menopause offers many benefits, including:
Boosting your mood. If you're physically active you have a lower risk of depression and cognitive decline.
Strengthening your bones. Exercise can slow bone loss after menopause, which lowers the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
Preventing weight gain. Women tend to lose muscle mass and gain abdominal fat around menopause. Regular physical activity can help prevent weight gain.
Reducing the risk of cancer. Exercise during and after menopause can help you lose excess weight or maintain a healthy weight, which might offer protection from various types of cancer, including breast, colon and endometrial cancer.
Reducing the risk of other diseases. Menopause weight gain can have serious implications for your health. Excess weight increases the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise can counter these risks.
What kind of exercise should I choose?
Ideally, you should do a mixture of different types of exercise on a continuous basis to feel the benefit. For most healthy women it is recommended to do moderate aerobic activity for at least 150 minutes a week or vigorous aerobic activity for at least 75 minutes a week. In addition, strength training exercises are recommended at least twice a week. Stretching exercises are recommended after each type of exercise and can be done as part of a relaxation and meditation session as well.
Aerobic activity. Aerobic activity can help you maintain a healthy weight. You can opt for a low impact version as long as it gets your heart rate up. Our 30 min HIIT class is excellent for this as well as our Barre Express and Barre Pilates classes. Other options are brisk walking, jogging, biking, swimming. If you're a beginner, start with 10 minutes a day and gradually increase the intensity and duration.
Strength training. Regular strength training can help stop the decline of your bone density, reduce body fat, strengthen your muscles and burn calories more efficiently. Try our 30 mins Weights class and any of our Pilates classes.
Stretching. Stretching can help improve the pliability and elasticity of our muscles and increase our active range of movement to keep us flexible and mobile. Set aside time to stretch after a walk or run, when your muscles are warm and receptive to stretching. Our 30 minute Stretch, Release & Relax Class is worth trying. How often do we give ourselves permission to spend 30 minutes stretching, and yet keeping our bodies mobile should be a top priority.
Stability and balance. Balance exercises improve stability and can help prevent falls. Try simple exercises, such as standing on one leg while brushing your teeth. Our Barre classes are especially good for improving stability and balance as well as our Pilates classes.
To make exercise a good experience during menopause it might help to think about your clothing, Wear light layers so you don't feel overly warm and take a layer off if needed. Make sure you have water to hand and work at your own level of intensity.
How to stay motivated?
That's the tricky one. It's all good to have a plan and follow it for a few days, but how can you make sure you make it part of your lifestyle?
1. Be Realistic
Think about how often you can commit to doing a form of exercise.
Do something you enjoy, but be open to trying new things.
Create a routine that is interesting by mixing up what you do (aerobic, strength, stretching, stability & balance).
2. Set Goals
Instead of saying "I'm going to exercise more" try setting yourself specific goals, here are some examples:
I'll walk for at least 30 mins 3 days a week - or I'll do x amount of steps each day.
I'll go for a run 3 times a week - or x amount of miles/kilometres.
I'll attend 3 online classes a week.
There is a free health app https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT203037 you can download on your phone that can add up your steps and distance each day.
3. Get a 'Workout Buddy'
Teaming up with someone such as a partner, friend or neighbour can be more fun than doing it on your own.
It can help you stay motivated and give you a sense of accountability.
With our Online, Live Classes you can work out with people wherever they are in the world.
By signing up to our Online, Live Classes not only are you making yourself accountable, we will be there to give you support and encouragement and keep you motivated.
Take time out for yourself.
Let friends and family know if you're struggling.
Listen to your body.
Never think it's too late to start exercising.
There's never a 'good time' to start exercising so start today... even if it's for 5 minutes.